Australia played in one of their most forgettable Tests in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, where they toiled on the field for 239 overs but could pick only four wickets for 728 runs. The first match of the historic series ended in an insipid draw as Pakistan piled on the visitors’ agony by scoring 252 for no loss on the fifth and the final day after securing a 17-run lead in the first innings. Both the home team openers – Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haque – slammed unbeaten tons.
Australia captain Pat Cummins, who bowled 32 overs in the match in which he gave 77 runs and picked one wicket, was not too frustrated, however. “Turning up to a pitch that’s probably not a traditional pitch you would get here in Rawalpindi, and it’s probably clear they’ve made an effort to try and nullify the pace bowling,” Cummins said after the game. “I think that’s a positive. And, sub-continent conditions, coming away with a draw it’s not a bad result,” he added.
Cummins had to employ nine bowlers in the second innings but yet Australia failed to make a breakthrough. In the first innings, too, the visitors saw as many as eight bowlers coming into action. “I think we all tried different things. I think all the quick bowlers, although we’ve spent the best part of three days out in the field, I think we’ve all bowled around about 25, maximum 30 overs each, which in comparison to a lot of Australian Test matches is actually a pretty light workload. Didn’t get a huge look at reverse swing this Test, but that might come into it later on. But I was really happy with how everyone went and everyone came through unscathed,” the Australia captain said.
Haq, who was adjudged the player of the match, hit centuries in both innings while Azhar Ali slammed 185 in the first essay. For the visitors, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne missed out on tons while David Warner and Steve Smith made half-centuries. Australia scored 459 in their first innings in reply to Pakistan’s 476 for 4 declared. For Pakistan, left-arm orthodox bowler Nauman Ali took six wickets for 107 runs. Cummins admitted that his team will have to reassess their plans ahead of the second Test in Karachi starting on March 12. “I thought the Pakistani batters batted really well the whole game. Got themselves in and then once they got themselves in they were able to just tick over the score. We’ll spend the next couple days reviewing it, having a look at maybe different plans ahead of Karachi, expecting probably different conditions as well,” he said. The two teams are playing for the Benaud-Qadir Trophy.